By Conrad Dudderar
More upgrades are coming to the Yukon’s public safety departments after recent city council action.
Council members, at their Feb. 2nd meeting, approved spending $178,447 for digital communications consoles at the police station, 100 S Ranchwood.
Yukon Police Chief John Corn recommended the purchase, paid with capital improvement funds.
In a related item, the council approved a fiscal year 2021 budget amendment to buy these consoles that are compatible with new P25 radio system upgrades.
A state contract vendor, Bearcom, submitted the $178,447 quote.
The company will provide new Motorola hardware, software and equipment – and installation – for all communications consoles inside the Yukon police station.
This project will provide a software-based digital platform at the Yukon Communications Center and Emergency Operations Center.
The new platform complies with control modules, and mobile and hand-held radios for police and fire departments.
The existing communications consoles are about 10 years-old and need to be upgraded, Chief Corn said.
“We’re not necessarily replacing a bunch of the PC and monitor components,” he said.
“We’re doing software and wiring changeover.”
The police chief estimated the new digital communications consoles will last 12 years.
“That’s a pretty good life expectancy for the software and what it will control,” he added.
“The expandability is going to be far greater than that. It is capable of having 200 channels and we’re going to utilize about 16 of those. There’s a lot of room to build on it should we go that far.”
This project was not included in the city budget, but Corn emphasized the upgrade will “enhance our capabilities”.
Funds for this purchase come from a $185,000 supplemental appropriation in the City of Yukon’s fiscal year 21 budget. Money is available in the existing fund balance to cover the transfer.
PROBLEMS WITH TONES
Yukon public safety officials made sure the new digital consoles are compatible with the P25 radio system upgrades done by Oklahoma City and current fire alerting systems in Yukon’s fire stations.
The City of Yukon is a subscriber on the City of Oklahoma City’s radio system.
Oklahoma City is converting from what is known as an EDACS system to a P25 system.
Over the past two years, Yukon’s police and fire departments have been changing over all their mobile and hand-held radios to digital-P25 compliant units.
As the transition progressed, public safety personnel started noticing problems with alert tones for priority calls and station control tones.
“We tried to tweak that in about every fashion that we could with the system in place in the communications office and the EOC (emergency operations center),” Corn said.
In October 2020, the City of Yukon paid $24,633 for 24 new portable radios at the police department.
Also last fall, the City submitted to the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council a $9,759.50 federal grant request to pay for seven hand-held police radios and related equipment.